AMS Spring 2023

The New Raw’s 3D Printed Chair Highlights the Potential for Infinitely Recyclable Materials

6K SmarTech

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The New Raw is a Dutch research and design studio started by two architects, Panos Sakkas and Foteini Sataki, specializing in using waste plastics to create housewares and furniture with a high-art feel. This spirit of the company is perfectly encapsulated in one of their newest projects, the Ermis chair. Built with the scrap and waste from their main product line, the Ermis chair comprises plastics that have been recycled twice.

Manufactured entirely from a single spiral plastic thread, the Ermis was 3D printed with a robotic arm that constantly makes slight rotations while following the shape of the chair. Sakkas’ and Sataki’s proprietary manufacturing method not only maximizes the use-potential of the material at hand but is also responsible for the unique textured appearance of the final product.

The Ermis chair’s striking design comes from a combination of its unique production process and twice-recycled plastics.

The Ermis chair’s striking design comes from a combination of its unique production process and twice-recycled plastics. Images courtesy of The New Raw/Michèle Margot.

Recycling is also responsible for the chair’s unique color pattern. Since the Ermis is made entirely from the waste material of other products, each chair is multi-hued, and no single piece looks exactly the same as any other. Of course, this being the case, the Ermis is also a limited edition. But considering the buzz it has yielded and the positive feedback it’s gotten, one could perhaps see The New Raw starting a tradition with what they’ve done here by creating a new, third-generation plastic piece alongside the rollout of every new product line.

The Ermis is made entirely out of scraps from the rest of The New Raw’s products.

The Ermis is made entirely out of scraps from the rest of The New Raw’s products. Images courtesy of The New Raw/Michèle Margot

Upcycling is one of the most exciting advantages to 3D printing and might very well be that aspect of the industry that has the most potential to capture people’s imaginations in the long run. The Ermis, for example, is composed of a material that is not only in its second stage of being recycled, but—because of the lack of resins of adhesives in the fabrication process—can be theoretically recycled “infinitely.”

This means that even if the chair ever breaks or wears down, the material it’s derived from still never truly has to go to waste. In this sense, although its sitting capabilities were designed with an entirely different purpose in mind, The New Raw’s project here is a bit reminiscent of To.Org’s recently announced Throne toilet, which upcycles medical waste plastic into a Port-A-Jon that, shockingly, looks pretty neat!

The New Raw’s proprietary production method utilizes a robotic arm to create the Ermis out of a single spiral of plastic.

The New Raw’s proprietary production method utilizes a robotic arm to create the Ermis out of a single spiral of plastic. Images courtesy of The New Raw/Michèle Margot

With the industry’s need to place a heightened emphasis on circular economics becoming clearer and clearer for a variety of reasons, The New Raw is providing precisely the type of product that can serve to make the argument for circular economies without any words even being necessary. The Ermis chair is one of those things that can captivate people with design backgrounds and the average consumer in equal measure. In addition, the more the cost of the playing field gets leveled, and the more user-friendly the design process becomes, the easier it is to envision average consumers of 3D printed goods becoming designers themselves.

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